Bold new chapters call for bold strokes. Which explains, maybe, how fried oysters ended up atop the signature burger for Blue Point Brewing Co.’s new restaurant, due to open this spring in Patchogue.
Executive chef Charley Sinden, who moved here from Seattle for the gig, batters and fries Blue Point oysters — and layers them with bleu cheese, bacon rémoulade and house pickles — for the brisket-blend burger, which is served on a brioche bun from Southhampton’s Blue Duck Bakery.
Sinden cooked up the burger and a few other forthcoming dishes from inside a snow-covered food truck (Blue Point’s kitchen is not built yet) for a preview of the restaurant’s food on Tuesday. Sinden, who said he’s been cooking since he was 16 (mostly out west, in cities such as Denver), honed cooking with beer at Breckenridge Brewery in Colorado. Inside Blue Point’s enormous new brewery on the grounds of the former Briarcliffe College, that throughline continues.
Sinden uses the brewery’s newest signature beer, The IPA, to batter local cod for fish and chips (he also brines potatoes for fries in Beach Plum Gose); caramelizes walnuts with Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout for a warm kale salad with apples and local goat cheese; and pours Toasted Lager, the Blue Point’s flagship beer, into a garlicky, sausage-studded broth for steamed mussels.
The soft-spoken chef said it took him two-and-a-half days to drive from Seattle to Long Island for his new gig (“I slept in Chicago,”) and that cooking with beer is a passion. He has plenty of it to work with from inside the new 54,000-square-foot brewhouse, where co-founder Mark Burford, director of brewing operations Dan Jansen, brewmaster Mike “Stoney” Stoneburg and their team have more than quadrupled production since moving the brewing operations here last summer, and are constantly experimenting with new brews. ("They're kind of like our demo tapes," said Stoneburg). Sinden has also been hitting up local farms, bakeries, cheesemakers and others as he pieces together a heavily local menu.
Though the brewery is working full throttle, the upstairs tasting room and restaurant are still a few months off, due to open April 17. The restaurant will have a raw bar; the tasting room will have 30 taps, including a firkin (casked ale) area and picnic-style tables. The space overlooks Patchogue Lake on the one side, the brewery floor on the other.
Local shellfish for the raw bar will be sourced by Keenan Boyle, aka Tall Motha Shucka (Boyle is six-foot-seven); Boyle is tentatively scheduled to shuck on Friday and Saturday nights, he said.
Downstairs from the tasting room will be a store with beer and merchandise, and outside, a a beer garden with a food truck.
Burford and Peter Cotter founded Blue Point Brewing Co. in a boatyard on River Avenue in Patchogue in 1998; AB InBev purchased the company in 2014, and expansion plans began two years ago. For more on the business side of the new Blue Point Brewing Co. brewery, see today's story in Newsday's business section.